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Hield comes alive in second half for Sooners

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STILLWATER, Okla. — Buddy Hield wouldn’t stay quiet. Not in Bedlam.

The Oklahoma guard, after a scuffling first half, came alive after intermission to lead a surge by the 24th-ranked Sooners that provided them with a 64-56 road win over Oklahoma State before a near-capacity crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday.

With his team trailing by seven at the half, Hield scored 12 points in a 25-13 Oklahoma run out of the break. Hield finished with 15 points, 12 coming soon after halftime.

“I know how to make some plays,” said Hield, who enhanced his game with transition points on assists from point guard Jordan Woodard. “My teammates were confident in me. Somebody needed to start the spark.

“Jordan got it to me in a fast-break opportunity and I was able to convert. He found me again and I started finding a groove after that.”

The win gave the Sooners a regular-season sweep over their in-state rival and a four-game winning streak in the series. And it was Hield who led Oklahoma in the first season meeting with a perfect shooting performance from the floor, going 10 for 10 overall and 4 for 4 from 3-point range, finishing with 27 points.

This time, Hield started slowly, managing but three points in 17 listless first-half minutes.

There was more to come.

Woodard produced a big second half as well, scoring 12 of his game-high 17 points over the final 20 minutes.

The Sooners improved to 14-7 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12. The Cowboys fell to 14-7 and 4-5, losing at home in the conference for the first time in five tries.

A bad start doomed the Cowboys in the first meeting, an 82-65 loss in Norman. This time, Oklahoma State started strong, leading 9-2 in the opening minutes and by as many as 12 points at several stages of the first half.

But the Sooners battled back and trailed just 32-25 at halftime as Oklahoma State struggled to produce consistent offense with Le?Bryan Nash sitting all but four minutes of the first half.

“I think we kind of did what we do best the first half, played aggressive, kind of imposed our will,” said Cowboys guard Phil Forte, who led his team with 15 points. “The second half, they imposed their will on us.”

Oklahoma shot just 38.5 percent and Hield had yet to get going, yet the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of their opportunity build a significant lead.

“We should have had a bigger lead,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said. “We just didn’t convert. We wanted to push the pace, we just didn’t get a lot out of it. And we should have. And we didn’t.

“It flip-flopped. We were the aggressor in the first half, they were the aggressor in the second half.

Oklahoma’s aggressiveness allowed it to flip the pace in its favor.

Soon, the Sooners were running and scoring. And by the 14:39 mark of the second half, they had their first lead, 40-38, on a Hield 3-pointer. The Cowboys led only once more, and briefly, at 43-42.

“It was a game where I thought O-State was quicker to loose balls in the first half and hurt us on the boards,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “They were dictating for most of the first 20 minutes.”

“We had that little spurt in the second half. I thought our activity picked up. We had a good run and got us going. TaShawn on the boards. It was a shared effort by a lot of guys. On the road, I’m proud of it.”

It was Oklahoma’s first league win of less than 10 points. In close games on the road, they rallied to lead Kansas and Baylor, yet couldn’t build on four-point leads and eventually lost.

“In most close ball games, it’s gonna be a case of a stop here or a stop there or a bucket here or a bucket there,” Kruger said. “It’s such a fine line. At Kansas, we’re up four with six to go and they make a couple plays and we miss a couple. Same thing at Baylor.

“Tonight, Frank (Booker) hits a big 3 in the corner. Jordan makes some plays and we got some stops at critical times. It’s a fine line between who has that margin going down the stretch.”

NOTES: The game featured the Big

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